49ers' Brooks facing possible felony assault charge
A felony assault with great bodily injury charge carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
An arrest warrant for 49ers starting outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks has reportedly been put on hold after he allegedly struck teammate Lamar Divens three times with a beer bottle and punched him in the face last month.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office is debating whether Brooks should be charged with a felony, a misdemeanor or not charged at all, according to a report in the San Jose Mercury News.
The incident was witnessed by two unnamed 49ers teammates, one of whom provided a statement in which he described Brooks as "very drunk" at the time of the alleged assault.
On Thursday, a Santa Clara County judge signed an arrest warrant for Brooks on a felony assault with great bodily injury charge, which carries a maximum sentence of four years.
But a day after the judge signed the warrant, officials in the district attorney's office notified the court to hold it, a court spokesman told the Mercury News.
"We are aware of the situation involving Ahmad Brooks," the 49ers said in a statement. "Out of respect for the legal process, the club will have no further comment at this time."
Brooks, 29, and Divens, 27, were at a teammates's house drinking on the evening of June 8 and playing pool when they decided to go to a downtown San Jose bar, according to the police report. Divens drove Brooks back to his house.
The two men, who had become good friends over the past month, were joking throughout the evening. When they arrived back at Brooks' house, he asked for the keys to his truck. Divens pretended to throw the keys in the grass before handing them to him.
Divens told an investigator that Brooks, who is listed at 6 foot 3, 259 pounds, hit him over the head with a beer bottle. Divens said he asked Brooks if he realized he just hit him. Brooks responded with some obscenities and struck him a second time. At that point, Divens said he was going back to the hotel to his family. His head was bleeding.
Brooks said, according to court documents, "Do I need to get my (expletive) gun at the house?"
Brooks hit Divens a third time with the battle. According to the report, Divens said to Brooks, "Do you realize you hit me in the head with a bottle three times?" Brooks replied, "Get the (expletive) out of here. If you want to press charges, press charges."
On his drive back to the hotel, where Divens was living with his wife and children, he continued bleeding a lot, Divens said. He required three stitches to close the wound, according to court documents. Divens initially told authorities he would like to press charges against Brooks for assault.
Divens was not in attendance on June 11 for the first day of the 49ers' mandatory minicamp. He was on the field on June 12, but did not practice. The next day, he told a sergeant in the assaults unit that he wanted to "drop it" and he "didn't want to move forward with anything."
Divens indicated it would be bad for both of their football careers. He said he and Brooks had resolved it, according to the report.
Divens, a 340-pound nose tackle, joined the 49ers' practice squad on December 26 after the Houston Texans released him from their practice squad in October. He has also spent time with San Diego, Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Tennessee.
On Feb. 7, the 49ers signed Divens to spot on the team's 90-man offseason roster. He is viewed as a long shot to win a spot on the team's 53-man roster.
Brooks was kicked off the Virginia football team at the end of the 2005 season and declared for the 2006 NFL supplemental draft. He entered the league with the Cincinnati Bengals. In 2008, he was accused of punching a woman in the face and accepted mediation on the charges.
Brooks has flourished in his five seasons with the 49ers, and had not been involved in any reported off-field incidents. After recording seven sacks in his first season as a starter in 2011, Brooks signed a six-year, $40.4 million contract that included a $7.5 million signing bonus.
Brooks was named second-team All-Pro and he made several key plays in the 49ers' NFC championship game victory over the Atlanta Falcons. He recorded 6.5 sacks but as part of a "de-escalator" his scheduled $4.3 million base salary for 2013 was lowered to $2.7 million.
He spent the entire offseason rehabilitating his shoulder after undergoing surgery after the season. Brooks was regularly seen in the 49ers' weight room working out, including during the mid-June minicamp after the alleged incident with Divens.